Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 411–415 | Cite as

Personhood, pregnancy, and gender: a reply to Hershenov and Hershenov

  • Sally MarkowitzEmail author

David Hershenov and Rose Joanna Hershenov, in “If Abortion, Then Infanticide” [1], hope to show that a number of major arguments in favor of abortion rights will also allow infanticide, and in case the reader does not find infanticide abhorrent, they present a principle they think explains why the reader should. Like so many philosophical discussions of abortion, theirs is not particularly concerned with gender equality or even really with the pregnant woman herself—apart, that is, from her obligation to the fetus. But in thinking about abortion, the issue of gender, not surprisingly, is never far from the surface.

I start, then, with the principle—on its face gender neutral—that the authors believe captures what is wrong with both abortion and infanticide: living beings all have an interest in healthy development. But if this explains why newborn infants’ lives should be protected, it also extends such protection to embryos, zygotes, and fetuses—if one grants that these differ from...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWillamette UniversitySalemUSA

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